|dc.description.abstract||Together with Han Yu (768-824), Li Ao (774-836) was a major forefunner of the Neo-Confuicanism that later developed in Sung Dynasty. He was well-known for his doctrine of feelings. Traditionally, this has been identified as a result of the influences from Buddhisma nd Taoism. This thesis will, first of all, show that there is no evidence for such a connection. In particular, that he was decisively influenced by the Buddhist monks such as Wei Yen and Tao Tung is purely fictional. Neither was Li’s doctrine produced through his interaction with his contemporary literates. Rather, he developed his own understanding of Confucianism in terms of self-enlightenment.
Secondly, this thesis will demonstrate that Li’s doctrine of feelings consists of the four concepts: hsing (Nature), hsin (Mind), ching (feeling), and hsieh-wang (the depraved). Generally, it will argue that only starting with a clarification of these major concepts that one can correctly understand Li’s doctrine of feelings, and hence dissolve its apparent self-contradictions. In particular, it will show that hsing (Nature) is what is granted from Heaven, while hsin (Mind) signifies the moral subjectivity. Further, ching (feeling) is the mainfestation of hsing (Nature), whereas hsieh-wang (the depraved) only results from losing one’s mind into the external world of things. As a consequence, he developed a theory of moral praxis according to which when hsin (Mind) is not affected by any external objects, ching (feelings) would become rectified. And only those who can rectify their feelings are able to become sages. This will give rise to a systematic interpretation of the whole doctrine of Li Ao.||en_US|